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An initial investigation on the potential applicability of Acoustic Emission to rail track fault detection.

By Kristoffer Bruzelius and David Mba


In light of recent accidents in the rail industry, the assessment of the mechanical integrity of rail-track is of vital importance. This encompasses the integrity of the track due to rolling contact fatigue and surface wear. Whilst numerous techniques are employed for crack detection, several defects have clearly been missed. In Europe, more than 100 rails are broken each year and rail maintenance costs within the European Union is estimated at 300-million Euros annually [Inst Mech Engrs 216 (2001) 249]. The derailment of a train at Hatfield in October 2000 is a tragic example of a fractured rail going undetected. This paper presents an experimental study on the applicability of Acoustic Emissions (AE) for rail-track defect diagnosis. An experimental test- rig was employed for this programme. This allowed for a surface defect to be seeded onto the test-rig. The investigation presented is part of an on-going attempt to develop the non-destructive technique of AE for assessing the surface integrity of rail-track. The AE technique is not new but the application in this particular instance is unique. It is concluded that the AE technique offers a complementary tool for rail track defect detection

Topics: Acoustic Emission, Condition monitoring, Rail track diagnosis
Publisher: Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam.
Year: 2004
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.ndteint.2004.02.001
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Cranfield CERES

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